Saon Ray and Smita Miglani, Global Value Chains and the Missing Links:
Cases from the Indian Industry. New Delhi: Routledge India, 2018, `895,
284 pp., ISBN: 9781138363908.
Global value chains (GVCs) or global production networks refer to the ‘full range
of activities involved in value creation of a product from its conception to the end-
use stage and beyond’ located in more than one country. In other words, the GVCs
produce a final good which is made up of components produced and value-add
generated in different countries. This represents the emerging pattern of frag-
mented production structures across countries that is based on technological
advancements and liberalization of trade. The GVC phenomenon has seen its big-
gest success in Asia, particularly in East Asia, Southeast Asia and pockets of South
Asia. Most Asian countries have been participating in GVCs at different levels of
the value chain with China emerging as a major player that has shown considerable
success in moving somewhat up the value chain. While transnational corporations
often head such production networks, SMEs have been engaged in a significant
way in several developing countries lower down the value chain. This is seen as an
area of major opportunities for firms, SMEs in particular, in developing countries
as it allows them to produce what they are most efficient at which may not be a full
product but a component thereof and offers access to a large and growing market.
It also allows potential learning and upgrading of production processes.
India has been increasingly participating in the GVCs across a number of indus-
tries, ranging between labour-intensive industries such as garments to technology
intensive industries such as pharmaceuticals and automobiles. However, even while
its engagement in the GVCs measured by GVC trade has increased manifold, it has
still been somewhat limited. This under-utilization of the GVC opportunity has been
seen as a major weakness of Indian manufacturing, one that has constrained its
potential growth, technical upgradation and movement up the value chain. Given
both the opportunity and the complexity of the GVCs, to understand why this
engagement has been limited has been an important though a difficult question.
This book, addresses the central problem of why Indian industry has been less
integrated into GVCs compared to many other Asian countries. This may be due
to a variety of reasons and the book examines several aspects of this question. It
breaks down the research question into two major ones: First, are domestically
owned firms well integrated into GVCs? This looks at the measure of integration
and identifies the performance of specific industries as leaders or laggards.
Foreign Trade Review
54(4) 422–426, 2019
©2019 Indian Institute of
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